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Firefighters find woman's body after battling Eldersburg apartment fire

Brian Geraci, Maryland state fire marshal, gives an update after firefighters found a deceased female inside an apartment in the 900 block of Marimich Court in Sykesville Monday morning.

Firefighters found a deceased female inside an Eldersburg apartment Monday morning after responding to a smoke alarm.

Deputy state fire marshals and Carroll County Sheriff’s Office detectives have confirmed Leslie C. Geisendaffer, 47, as the victim. Geisendaffer was the sole occupant of the apartment at the time of the fire, according to the fire marshal’s office. The preliminary investigation has determined the fire originated within the bedroom while the cause remains under investigation.

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Crews responded to an apartment in the 900 block of Marimich Court at about 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 24, said State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci, who was on the scene.

They arrived to find a working fire confined to the second-floor bedroom. Visibility was near zero as a thick smoke filled the second floor, according to a news release from the Sykesville-Freedom District fire company.

In the course of fighting the fire, they found the deceased adult female on the floor of the bedroom. Investigators believe she was the resident of the apartment but are still gathering information, Geraci said.

The fire was contained to the second-floor bedroom area with extensive smoke damage to the rest of the townhouse as well as an adjacent unit, according to the fire company’s news release.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating a fire in the 900 block of Marimich Court in Eldersburg Monday, after a deceased female was founded inside an upstairs apartment.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating a fire in the 900 block of Marimich Court in Eldersburg Monday, after a deceased female was founded inside an upstairs apartment. (Cat Righter/Staff photo)

Melissa Seabron, a neighbor, said that there were no billowing flames or other obvious signs of fire from outside that morning.

She was thinking of the deceased woman's family as she waited outside for crews to clear from the parking lot of the nearby apartments.

“We’re all mothers, sisters,” she said of herself and fellow neighbors. “To have this happen on Christmas Eve — it’s very sad.”

The Sykesville-Freedom District company was the primary responding agency alongside crews from Gamber and Winfield, and West Friendship in Howard County.

Geraci said this was the 70th fatal fire in Maryland in 2018, “unfortunately right on par with last year,” he said.

This is the third fatal fire in Carroll County this year, and the first in the Sykesville-Eldersburg area in more than three years, according to the fire company. The first fire death in Carroll this year occurred in May, and the second last month. Both happened in the Finksburg area.

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